NASA Releases "Sector 33" Air Traffic Control Game

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Apr 12, 2001
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NASA, the U.S. space agency has released a new iOS game called Sector 33. The educational title aims to teach youngsters math and reasoning skills as they act the role of an air traffic controller in charge of ATC Sector 33 as they guide planes to San Francisco International Airport from the East over California and Nevada.

Players adjust multiple planes' path and speed to safely reach a target location in the sky in the fastest time possible while keeping the plans a safe distance apart.
"Our hope is that Sector 33 will give students a sense of the importance of math in managing our nation's air traffic and, at the same time, interest them in pursuing a career in aeronautics," said Jaiwon Shin, NASA's associate administrator for aeronautics research in Washington.

The math-focused game also aligns with the NASA Office of Education's mission to engage students in activities related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

"Today's students respond positively to experiential learning," said Leland Melvin, NASA's associate administrator for education. "Using an interactive game to spark their interest, while at the same time teaching them fundamental math concepts, is a win-win scenario. It is a perfect way to help cultivate the next generation of engineers and technologists."



NASA is no stranger to iOS apps, having launched an iPhone app in 2009 to help users stay on top of the latest NASA news.

Sector 33 is available free for iPhone and iPad from the App Store. [Direct Link]

Article Link: NASA Releases "Sector 33" Air Traffic Control Game
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,579
4,019
I guess they're trying to get the next generation prepared for when this guy becomes president*:



*I neither support nor actually expect him to win, I just thought the image was pretty funny and fit the topic well enough.
 

ChristianVirtual

macrumors 601
May 10, 2010
4,096
266
* ** *
Interessting for enthusiasts ... So I got it ... But really only for hard core plane lovers :rolleyes:

Flight Control HD has the better music :eek:
 

jlc1978

macrumors 68020
Aug 14, 2009
2,445
847
Shuttle program shut down? Lets make video games!
While I appreciate the sarcasm, NASA does much more than Shuttle. The Aeronautics part is deeply involved in a lot of non-space research; and produces a lot of useful (and often free) material of interest to pilots, researchers and engineers. Glenn, for example, has some great educational DVDs on icing. I've used some of NASA's human factors research in my work.

Shuttle is neat, but it's the very visible tip of a much larger organization.

As for the game, It looks cool, but then again one of my favorite games was an old MS-DOS ASCII ATC simulator.

Flight Control is fun, as is ATC but this looks like a more realistic simulation.
 

timotay89

macrumors regular
Jul 20, 2011
136
0
I saw a presentation about this at a math conference. It was paid for with money that must be put towards projects like this. It wasn't that much money relative to all the other stuff NASA does.

It comes with a ton of stuff that's good for the classroom, and as a math teacher, it's an excellent teaching tool. There's good descriptions, workbooks, computer simulators, and it's challenging too. Stuff like this would usually cost schools quiet a lot of money, and then they aren't always good and just push more of the makers own crap.

It's a perfect answer to "when are we going to use this stuff?" that you get in a classroom CONSTANTLY.

And it makes math fun for kids.
 

Rodimus Prime

macrumors G4
Oct 9, 2006
10,136
4
They should have made it paid, NASA need the money to get to mars damn it! XD

will try this app however, it's like flight control for boffins :)
Well I happen to know people here personally working on Apps for NASA or their contractors (I live in Clear lake) and often times things like this these are things that the guys made to experiment and learn how to do things on the mobile OS. Often times it does not take much work to finish the clean up and make it look a little better.
That or the core of it was done for some other project and it could easily be made into a game with limited work.

You basically are getting things that the employees are learning how to code on given out.
 

madmaxmedia

macrumors 68030
Dec 17, 2003
2,923
32
Los Angeles, CA
Flight Control is fun, as is ATC but this looks like a more realistic simulation.
Yeah, there are plenty of 'drawing a path' cartoony games already in the App Store, so this seems like a nice change of pace. And hey its free and looks very scientific- you can probably fake out your grandma and tell her you are doing real traffic control on your iPhone.
 

PNutts

macrumors 601
Jul 24, 2008
4,836
336
Pacific Northwest, US
Ain't gonna happen with NASA.
Need to commercialize space big time, and the Russians are doing a better job of that for the moment.
Except that the next two ISS launches have been delayed because of defects and the fleet was grounded last August. So... Other than not being able to fly, they're doing great! :D
 

sjp5317

macrumors newbie
Aug 11, 2010
16
0
Denham Springs, LA
Very Addicting Game

I guess this belongs in a review section or something, but the game is really addicting. I am 3/4 of the way through it. I think my wife got tired of my staring at my phone at dinner. It makes you think of a lot of aspects at the same time...time and speed. Hopefully if I beat it I can get recruited to be a flight controller! I wonder what that pays? :)
 

Macman45

macrumors G5
Jul 29, 2011
13,199
133
Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
Shuttle program shut down? Lets make video games!
I guess they have to make money someplace, but most of the NASA stuff is free anyway. No Mars mission ( probably not in my lifetime either) China will probably get to the Moon, and then what?

If they charge for this, well good luck to them. I know they are desperate to raise profiles and put the public interest back, if it helps, then great.
 

mamajt

macrumors newbie
Jul 6, 2010
3
0
I totally fell in love with that game, completed it in one evening. Can you recommend some similar games?
 

sweex

macrumors member
Oct 27, 2009
76
0
I liked it, the math you need is pretty basic but the more difficult levels do require some thinking, memory and timing. IMO it was a bit short though.
 

AIP5

macrumors 6502a
Aug 2, 2011
556
0
I don't get why people are crying about the space shuttle program. It was probably one of the biggest wastes in NASA history. It never accomplished any of its intended goals, and only stagnated human space exploration in low Earth orbit. If we had just used disposable space rockets like the Russians do, we would definitely have been further than just low Earth orbit.

Sigh... at least NASA's JPL is doing wonders, if not the Florida coast. Can't wait for the next Mars Rover to land!
 

DisMyMac

macrumors 65816
Sep 30, 2009
1,087
11
Sigh... at least NASA's JPL is doing wonders, if not the Florida coast. Can't wait for the next Mars Rover to land!
Google "Mars conspiracy". The missions aren't failing - that would be as absurd as having your car break down every time you go for a drive.

The irony is that there is no coverup; all of the data you need to know what's on Mars has been released, just not through official channels.
 

jamewhite86

macrumors newbie
Feb 3, 2012
14
0
NASA Releases "Sector 33" Air Traffic Control Game

NASA's associate administrator for education. "Using an interactive game to spark their interest, while at the same time teaching them fundamental math concepts, is a win-win scenario. It is a perfect way to help cultivate the next generation of engineers and technologists." thanks for information.
 
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